There’s a widespread misconception — bolstered by news media and political rhetoric — that the U.S. is enduring a flood of migrants from Mexico. On the contrary, both legal and illegal immigration from south of the border has declined by 80 percent since 2007, the lowest at any point since 1991. The number of Mexicans returning home outnumbered those leaving the country — in fact, more Americans have left for Mexico than the other way around, with the number surging since 2005. Subsequently, our southern neighbor hosts over one million U.S. citizens, more than any other country in the world.
Furthermore, this trend is likely to be permanent, because Mexico is actually doing far better than most people realize. Since the recession, it’s economy has grown twice as fast as America’s (albeit from a much lower base). Depending on how you measure it, Mexico has the 11th to 14th largest economy in the world, with some sources predicting that it will grow to become the fifth or seventh largest by 2050 (around the level that France, the UK, and Germany are today). A few scholars even believe that Mexico could become an influential global power, which isn’t far fetched when you consider that in some areas, it’s comparable or superior to China, India, Russia, and other emerging powers.
Since the mid-1990s, the majority of Mexicans have become part of the rapidly growing middle-class, with the country recently being classified as a newly-industrialized nation. Mexico’s average life expectancy and poverty rate is comparable to the U.S. (thanks in part to its universal healthcare system), while one-third of Mexican states have a crime rate equal to or less than America’s. While the country is still enduring many problems — including one of the worst rates of violence and income inequality in the world — it’s not the dystopia that popular culture and news media make it out to be.